A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

My very own 50 shades of grey

Posted by Pepper on August 26, 2015

Two years ago, I wrote this post. I spoke about the three strands of grey hair I had then. Let’s cut to the present. I now have a head that has an infinite number of grey strands. Infinite additions in just a little over 700 days. How much grey must I have sprouted per day then! Sometimes I wonder, how did that happen?

They say stress accelerates greying. Well, there is no denying that in the past year and a half, my body has been subjected to an alarming level of stress. I have undergone a lot. What with Oregano’s kidney failure, recurring problems and subsequent transplant, daddy’s health faltering, his hospitalisation, the waiting game outside the ICU that used to make my heart pound hard against my chest, facing the big question of whether or not he would make it, the sighting of a doctor accompanied by a delirious heart beat as we waited to hear their verdict on his condition, the trauma of his passing away, my papa’s sudden ill health, his hospitalisation, the sudden, enormous responsibility of running a company, I think I was sucked into a whirlpool of stress.

Thankfully, my life is back on track. I am in a happy space. My dad has recovered and we are all well. Having said that, I don’t know if I can overlook all that I have been through. Sometimes, I believe that phase caused some irreversible changes in me. Not just emotionally, but physically too. I have become prone to sudden bouts of palpitations and irregular heart beats.

Work also ends up tiring me out completely. I do try to not let the tension build up in my system, but I have often wished I could take a sabbatical from work, get a few months off to unwind, incorporate meditation and regular exercise into my life and bring in a sense of calmness. Unfortunately, with the current state of affairs at work, I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

Anyway, going by my lifestyle and my history, I shouldn’t be surprised by the amount of grey that has appeared. Other than the stress, I also suffer from various vitamin and mineral deficiencies. I began to to take my supplements seriously, only to lose steam in a month and after missing a few consecutive doses, all my determination went kaput. Note to self – Restart supplements.

Coming back to the grey, I feel awfully disturbed each time people react to it. I have had friends who see my hair and go, ‘Oh my God! You have so much grey hair!’. The shock and exclamation in their tone makes me supremely conscious and I almost think of ways to cover or hide my hair from their view. I need to learn to deal with this better. Because, clearly, people will not change the way they react to it.

It really sucks that my mother-in-law does not have a single strand of grey at 58, whereas I, despite being under 30 have a million. People tend to compare and I feel like smacking them and telling them I didn’t get my genes from my in-laws. I got them from my parents. My mother has been suffering from premature greying from the time she was a teen. I need to be thankful I didn’t have to undergo it from such an early age.

I’m not entirely sure where I am going with this post. I just wanted to write about how disturbed I feel with the emergence of all this grey and the reactions it garners. On one hand I am struggling to accept my adult hood, on the other hand, my body is showing signs that translate to old age. It is just too much to cope. I am struggling already, please don’t make it worse with your reactions.

On some days I wonder what world I am caught in. I keep seeing flashes of my happy and carefree childhood. I see myself riding my bicycle in our apartment premises, my friends calling out to me from the ground floor, asking me to come down to play, the shuttle cock landing in some aunty’s balcony. I take several such trips. My brain freezes these memories so that I can savour them just a little more…

And then I have to snap out of that world and return to this world, full of responsibilities, exhaustion and grey hair.

A friend sent this image and I thought there couldn’t be a more apt description of how I feel.



44 Responses to “My very own 50 shades of grey”

  1. ‘Adult’ should definitely be made a noun..b’cos that sentence on that pic makes perfect sense!

    I got the premature graying from my mom too. Have resorted to henna coloring since 3 years now and they still refuse to stay hidden. Well, acceptance is the answer I guess. Sigh, the ‘joys’ of growing up!

  2. Bhavani said

    I guess this is the story of each one of us….I resort to coloring. What to do…I am very conscious also…I am much older than you still unable to accept it gracefully….Sigh!!


  3. I hear you!! I have so many gray strands! And it’s a genetic trait inherited from my grandfather and mother. My mom has aged so gracefully without ever coloring her hair and I keep telling myself I should do the same 🙂

  4. Just pretend that you are wine. You will get better as you age.
    That’s what I tell myself when I get inundated with anti aging products and my hair stylist points out my new grey hair. Death.

  5. D said

    So true…adulthood sucks no. Especially, when someone in the family suffers health issues, I hate this stage the most, all the worry and tension eats me up, and I loose my sanity for those few days! And the worst part of this getting old thing is that parents are getting old too..I hate that the most.

    While the “enjoy every phase of life..” and “30’s is the new 20’s ” crap does sound good…but believe me…I miss my younger carefree self!

    • Pepper said

      I can’t tell you how much I hate the fact that parents are getting old. I try to ignore that and just feel happy they are healthy in this current moment. Knowing and realising that is my biggest stress buster. It gives me a new perspective on everything.

      Totally hear you!

  6. for me it is weight.. right from cab driver to my colleague everyone is up with an exclamation that I am growing fatter and that it needs to stop and more so ’cause I am woman and being fat is very bad for women….
    I want to smash their heads and turn them into gooey red/pink.white pulp..

  7. These days that is the first thing I notice about people – those sneaky greys. Then I feel they are just like me with greys. Then I like them a bit more. Now I like you more.

    I know that is a sad way to live. Why doesn’t the greying reverse when we are happy? Until that happens, I am going to be this stupid person who validates her premature greying thusly. 😛

  8. Deepa said

    awww…sweetheart, I wish I could envelope you in a big, warm hug right this moment. When you do get those couple of months off, come here right away. We shall together become yoginis, meditate and then right after, pig out at Chipotles and have ourselves umpteen sundaes at Ghirardelli. No, seriously!

    Am thrilled BTW for oregano. May he prosper and stay healthy in his new environs. All the best to him from moi.

    A a huge congrats to the lil’ one. For bagging a job so prestigious it’s making me all goggle eyed. For some reason I have an image of her that makes me think she’s too young to teach:-) But nope, she’s just really cool and cute I bet and the kiddos are gonna love her to bits.

    • Pepper said

      Sigh.. You got me all dreamy. I remembered us sitting at Ghirardelli, pigging out on their sundaes. That was such an amazing, amazing evening. Thank you so much once again.

      And you bet. If I take a few months off, I am sure to get myself there. And then we will begin with our meditation spree..

      Will pass on your wishes to Oregano.

      You are so right about the sister. She IS tiny. Which is why she looks too young. I’ll share some pics and videos with you on mail next time.

  9. I have had several grey hairs in the past year alone. And all of those grey hairs have to be in the highly visible area – sigh! So I can totally relate to how you feel, especially when someone keeps pointing it out to you, as if you would not have noticed it.. grrr! My dad is 61 and has just started greying. My mom has had no grey hairs until very recently. I dont know what has triggered my early greying – must be the stress, I would do a deep dive on every single thought of mine.

    Recently, I attended a workshop on hair n skin care in my office and the doctor mentioned that stress is only a trigger and usually the underlying problem can be something else for early greying. Also, any hair that turns grey after 30 is irreversible it seems (irrespective of the underlying cause). Sigh Sigh Sigh.

    I keep getting flashes of my childhood too and I sit captivated in those memories for hours not realizing my current age. What would I not give to get back to those carefree times!

    • Pepper said

      I do a deep dive on every single thought of mine too. We are over thinkers and in fact, over analysers. It is bound to show. 😀

      So what underlying problems cause early greying?

      I know, right! If only we go could go back in time, even if it was only for brief moments..

      • That she conveniently kept skipping even after many of us asked the same question. She said it varies from person to person and unless an analysis is done, she cant say for sure. Basically she wanted every one of us in the session to visit her clinic and get her business flourishing.

  10. I am 20 and I have around 10 white hair strands. Already! Fortunately or unfortunately,I am not the only one 😛 I see so many of my classmates having white hair strands too that manage to sneak out from behind their otherwise styled hair. 🙊
    I used to think it must be the water 😛 but I have more than enough reasons to attribute it to deficiencies.
    Still hoping for a miracle which will turn them black again 😂😂😂

    • Pepper said

      I have no hope for any such miracle..I am trying to live with it. And compared to you, I really am aged indeed 😛

      But you’re right. I have been seeing my classmates having grey hair since 18. Makes me feel a little better.. haha. Or maybe not. Because they colour it anyway. I don’t.

  11. RAMAN said

    Any ways..

  12. Dude..tons of grey here at just 30. Mins sprouted after freaking child birth at 27. I do not color , have had no highlights or anything ever. For work , at times I actually think my grey is slightly beneficial – I have felt I should look a tad older than I am when I am giving direction to older people. Anyway , the other side of me thinks I have too many and they are awful. They are v prominent now and I have to resort to color fast. Oh and you know main reason I don’t color yet – because I at 30 I still worry what my mother will say. She btw handed me these lovely genes and is the one who comments on them every week on Skype.

    • Pepper said

      Wait, you are saying your mom will not be pleased if you start colouring ? Or she will be pleased (since she comments on them)? Lol, I am confused.

      In my case, if I choose to colour my hair, my mom is not in a position to comment on it since she is guilty of doing the same thing from the time she was very young!

  13. Just love the pic..I say Don’t Adult Me. My grey spot freaks me out!! How I wish to get at least a month break from work and planning for a job change..still thinking on resignation. I suggest you try herbal medicine..it helps…was feeling some pain, dizzines the past months and Ayur helped me loads.

  14. purple prose said

    Have you considered just dyeing it? There are many organic, safe henna-based dyes these days.It’s not worth the stress, there’s no reason to put pressure on yourself to “age gracefully”. Age how you want.

    • Pepper said

      I have considered it, yes, but I really prefer not to. I do want to ‘age gracefully’. But then, maybe I should just stop trying because it is hard work.

      So far it isn’t too bad, because in all honesty, I don’t have enough grey to warrant coloring. But once I do, I am not sure what stand i’ll take..

  15. Heck I had my first silver strand in my late 20s back in Canada. Didn’t fuss about it then and don’t fuss about it now… fast forward to life in India, happily in my 40s when the silver outnumbers the light brown. I proudly sport silver!

  16. I noticed my first grey at 21 and today at 37, I can probably count the number of black hair on my head 🙂
    I inherited the grey hair from my father.My father stopped colouring his hair really early and I remember a lot of people mistaking my father to be my grandfather when I was a kid 🙂 On the other hand, my MIL is 55 and probably has 2 strand of grey on her head.
    Today I see a lot of young people with grey hair. Stress probably is a main factor, but the lack of nutrients and deficiencies, ( our veggies and fruits are no longer as nutritious as they were ) constant exposure to AC and other controlled environments all add to the grey on the head.

    In my younger days, I used mehendi to colour my hair, but post 30 I realized that since I had more grey than black, I was beginning to look red headed.
    I am not comfortable with the idea of using the chemical colours. I tried it a couple of time and ended up with a bad headache.
    I researched a lot and now I use mehendi followed by another round of oragnic indigo to get a shade of black.
    I would love to stop colouring since even the organic mehendi and indigo are a pain and take up precious weekend time, but I am mentally not ready for this.
    There are days when I see the grey on my head( when I am overdue for a touch up session) and feel like a 60 year old. And there are days when i see the grey and still feel young and energetic.
    And yes, being an adult is not easy 😦

    • Pepper said

      I agree, our diet and lack of nutrients are contributing factors too.

      Interesting to note how you use mehendi followed by other organic indigo. I must suggest this to my mom. The amount of dye she dumps on her hair every month really worries me.

      Being an adult sucks 😐

  17. ashreyamom said

    I always though grey hair is trendy.. incase u r thinking of colouring your hair, please chk all the pros and cons dear.. if it was me, I would have shopped for best hair accessorizes for hair and style it up..

  18. From what I’ve seen and read of you, you are awesome, grey hairs and all 🙂
    So don’t worry about that.

    BUT do take care of yourself. More important than everything else.

  19. Richa said

    Hey Pepper! I hear you!
    As much as I love the grace of a grey-headed person and get reminded of my grandma, I dread any of those grey strands that have been regularly popping up ever since my 25th birthday. But now putting henna every 2-3 months makes me feel better. 🙂

  20. sonia said

    Hi pepper…grey hair are going to be the end of me…my ma has had gray hair ever since I remember. ..n I started turning gray by the age of 28…partly it was due to chemical treatments…stress of ma’s illness…whatnot…just when I was resigned to it…I had to get chemo done…lost my hair…n the hair that grew again have lesser gray…go figure…😊

  21. sonia said

    I remember trying henna…but over time it gave the white hair a red tinge…horrible they used to look… (shudders)…its an endless loop…

  22. stutee said

    The picture you used, that’s my watsapp DP, Spooky, aye? And as goes the greying, Hi Five sista, we sail the same boat, infact I may be the captain of the boat 😉

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